Thursday, November 24, 2011

Comparing My Brother to Abraham and Elisha

One of my brethren recently has been criticized by a number of people because he did not accept one or more gifts.  There is a lot more that could be said about people whose pride is offended when their gifts are refused, but my brother's own attitude was the thing that caught my eye.  It reminded me of this:

Genesis 14:22-24
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

I suppose I could have thought instead of another gift refusal:

2 Kings 5:15-16  & 26-27
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

Is my brother Abraham or Elisha?  Obviously not.  His circumstances differ, as do the circumstances of his refusal.  That said, I think that only a Biblically illiterate person could think that there cannot be good reasons for refusing gifts.



Prhoffer said...

Mr. Fan, cherry picking biblical verses to justify churlish behavior is beneath you. Abraham did not take anything from the king of Sodom as a reward because the previous chapter (13:2) showed that Abraham's material wealth came from God's blessing upon him not due to the beneficence of others. Elisha refused the proffered gift from Naaman because he wanted to demonstrate that God's grace is not something that can be bought. Mr. Bugay refused the kindness out of sinful pride, no more, no less. Thank goodness the Blessed Virgin Mary did not refuse the Gift God gave her.

Francis Turretin said...

Mr. Hoffer:

I see you continue to attribute the worst of motives to your theological adversaries. If you could read minds, your expression of your opinions here might have some weight. Since, of course, you don't, these sorts of posts by you just serve as a memorial to your character.


Paul Hoffer said...

Hello TF, I take that when your fellow Calvinist apologists, such as Messrs. White and Hays, read minds and attribute the worse of motives to others, it must be ok because you know for a fact that they can read people's minds when they do it. I have been accused of engaging in taqqiya by Mr. White and of trying to gain some sort of advantage over you by Mr. Hays when I learned who you are in real life. I have yet to hear you correct either of them or stand up for my character.

Me-I do not pretend to read minds. That said, I have no problem calling a spade a spade when such is obvious. Mr. Bugay's conduct was uncharitable-pure and simple. In the examples from Scripture that you gave, the offer of gifts were turned down, not because of some sort of discerning of the motives of the offeror but because the offerees were concerned that acceptance would have diminished the grace of God. Mr. Bugay did not state that as a concern. Rather, he argued that acceptance of the gifts would give his donors some sort of edge over him rather than attribute to them the possibility that the gifts were made out of kindness. Considering that he rejected gifts that were not meant for him, but for his wife, demonstrates an unchristian sort of selfishness, not towards his donors necessarily, but certainly towards his wife.

Let's take this a bit further, even if the donors had "bragged" about their donations, how does that affect Mr. Bugay? Doe the acceptance of money that was offered without strings give a donor some sort of shamanistic power over the donee? Of course not.

And what does the Scripture say on the matter? Does not Our Lord tell us at Luke 18:9-14 that if one give gifts and exalt himself for doing so, that Our Father in Heaven will cause that one to be humbled? Being gracious and generous when we are able to do so does not give us bragging or boasting rights since all things in truth come from a generous and loving God. The Word of God makes it clear that all that we have comes from God and we are only stewards of those gifts. It would be to the donor's shame, and not to the detriment of the donee if the donor were so crass to brag or boast about re-gifting something that Our Father in Heaven gave us in the first place.

I hope Mr. Bugay will change his mind and his heart and allow anyone who wishes to give to do so.

God bless!

turretinfan said...

I don't have any response I feel like giving to your comments above.

turretinfan said...

I see that a certain lay apologist (apparently eager to debate me) has posted a 3800+ word response to the brief article above. Ultimately, it seems he is forced to concede the point that there can be good reasons for refusing gifts. So, given that he concedes that point, it seems unnecessary for me to provide further reply.